RealPlayer is a steaming pile. I didn’t want to install it on my computer unless I absolutely positively had to, but NPR archives are all in streaming Real audio format. So I set about trying to be able to play Real audio and video with some sort of spamware-, spyware- and uglyware-free solution. Here’s how I did it:

Real Alternative. This contains the codecs needed to decode the Real file formats. If you don’t mind Media Player Classic, make sure you select it during the Real Alternative install, and you’re done.

If you prefer Winamp (like me), don’t install MPC. Get Tara’s Real Audio Plugin for Winamp. You’ll need to close and restart Winamp for it to recognize the new plugin, and it should even prompt you to associate itself with the proper file types.